At the end of December 2006, John Willis will retire from Penauille Servisair after 38 years with the company.
John had worked with various airlines prior to moving to the company in 1968, shortly after the Servisair name was introduced. Soon after joining the company, he was promoted to the Board as Commercial Director and was responsible for the growth and development of Servisair along with his primary responsibility for contractual relationships with airlines. In 1985, he became Managing Director, leading the Company's expansion overseas, initially into Continental Europe, and then into the USA. John led the Company during the periods when Servisair was part of the Bricom MBO, its subsequent Swedish ownership, and its launch in 1994 as a listed company on the London Stock Exchange, at which time he was CEO and then Executive Chairman.
During this period, along with overseeing the growth of an international ground-handling network, John was responsible for establishing the Cargo business and separating it into its own division, and also developing a significant network of airport lounges. At this time, Servisair's sale to Penauille in 1999 had an overall turnover of over £200 million per annum and had doubled in value during the 5 years of being a listed company. He was awarded the Silver Medal by the UK Airports Association for "outstanding service to Airports", one of only 10 ever awarded and the first to be awarded to someone not employed by an Airport. He was also a founding Vice President of the IATA Ground Handling Council (IGHC).
In 1999, following the acquisition by Penauille Polyservices, John became Chairman and CEO of Servisair and a Board Member of Penauille. In 2001, he stepped down when the company was integrated with GlobeGround and from 2003, he has continued to remain in a non-executive and part-time role.
In a comment John said,
"I am very proud of what Servisair has become and of all the people in the company who have helped us to create a market leader. Time moves on and it is now time for me to move on also".
John will continue to represent Penauille Servisair with the International Aviation Handlers Association (IAHA) of which he is Chairman, an association which he helped to create and now represents the principal 50 or so independent handling agents in the world. He added,
"With regional groups in addition to the worldwide body, IAHA is taking more and more of my time. It is in a very interesting and challenging period and having been in the industry for over 46 years, I feel I can continue to contribute to its development".
Abderrahmane El Aoufir, Penauille Servisair Chairman and CEO said,
"We appreciate the pivotal role that John had in building up a significant part of the Company today and we wish him well in the future".